‘What if your farm could talk to you, and you could understand what it was saying?’ Australian agritech startup, Goanna Ag, has answered that very question, with a low-cost accessible solution that acts as translator. CEO Alicia Garden explained, “Goanna Ag helps growers connect to their farm like never before, to optimise water management and maximise yield.”
Its proof of concept was Australia’s irrigated cotton market. “We started there for two reasons,” said Alicia. “The water use R&D was already done, so it was an easy market entry. And there’s an inbuilt recognition among Australian cotton growers that research – and new technology – brings benefit. There’s a much shorter bell curve to adoption.”
So short that, Goanna Ag’s GoField irrigation scheduling solution has grown from 10% market penetration to 50% in just two years – and is now seeking $10 million investment to support its expansion plans.
The rapidly adopted flagship product, GoField integrates in-field sensors, local weather data, crop growth stage, satellite imagery and analytics to identify precisely how much water the crop needs and when.
Its canopy sensor, which monitors plant stress in real time, is what sets it apart from the market. “The canopy sensor measures the temperature of the plant against the biological optimum every five minutes. Like humans, who function best at or below 37.5 degrees, each plant species has a specific biological optimum. When that level is breached, the plant goes into stress and stops growing.”
Other products use satellite imagery to measure crop health, by assessing how green the plant is or soil moisture probes to understand available moisture. But as Alicia explained, whilst useful technologies, both have limitations. “By the time the plant stops being as green as it should be, or the rate of water absorption slows, the plant is already approaching stress.”
As well as real time assessments, GoField forecasts seven-day plant behaviours, providing insight into when growers should irrigate in order to maximise yield, whilst avoiding crop stress.